story by Katrice Williams
photos by Shelia Scott
Many feel that the heart of an individual is often revealed in the compassion they have for other people and also for animals. That said, Brooklyn Howells is quite a notable and impressive girl. The eleven-year-old Pooler native lives with her mom, Rowena and dad, Henry. Brooklyn or “Brook” is a sixth-grader at Godley Station School and will soon be celebrating her twelfth birthday on November 20th. She is undeniably well-rounded and talented. Actually, Brook is an active member of Girl Scouts of America, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), plays the trombone in the school band and has enjoyed playing soccer and basketball over the years.
Brook has long had a tender and loving heart for animals, with dogs being her favorite of all. She feels that they deserve as much love and attention that can be given to them.
“I love animals. They’re so sweet and cute. My favorite animal is a dog, and that’s what I have,” Brook said.
She adores her dog Polish, a seven-year-old, black and tan German Shepherd. And, as a math and science enthusiast, the aspiring veterinarian is well on her way. Interestingly enough, when she was only about seven herself, Brook decided to turn her love for animals into something incredibly rewarding and beneficial. Even then, she understood that many dogs are not cared for and supported. Actually, many of them are often mistreated. This is especially true of bigger or older dogs. She wanted to offer a service that would help all dogs in need. Brook, having such an enormous and sincere heart, was determined that she would not sit idly around and do nothing; that was not okay with her. That is when the idea “Brook 4 Animals” was first conceived.
“Because I love animals, I really wanted to support them. Big animals don’t get as much love, so I wanted to speak for those animals and help them out,” Brook stated.
After enlisting her mom’s assistance, Brook began to gather information and learn how to service her furry friends in the best way possible. She combined all of her resources and began to spread awareness of her initiative. Having a great work ethic, Brook did not mind putting in the work needed to make her dream a success. Actually, she was very excited about it all. She initially began her service by providing aid to puppies and smaller dogs. Brook often searched out local venues and organizations that cared for deprived animals to determine what they were in most need of. There was no place too big or too small, as Brook’s main goal was to help as many dogs as possible live longer, healthier and happier lives.
Brook started off by hosting Puppy Blanket Drives, where she collected new and used blankets, new toys and food for the little guys; some drives were held at school, outside of class hours, and even at a local puppy boutique. It was all a big success. There are many generous donors who also share in Brook’s passion; they, too, appreciate Brook’s heart for such a great cause.
Brook is co-hosting the Farm to Table Festival & Bonfire at Ottawa Farm in Bloomingdale on November 17th from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. She is responsible for assisting with the booths and setup along with helping to attain vendors and promote the festival. Parents with children ages 13 and under are encouraged to bring them out to the event, as it is expected to be a boatload of fun for everyone. There will be a variety of “games, southern field day activities, line dancing, music, s’mores, a pizza-eating contest and more.” Brook is really looking forward to it all, as a “portion of the ticket proceeds will benefit the vet care for neglected, large animals.”
Brook received a scholarship this past summer to go to a “veterinary and agricultural camp at Auburn University.” Brook had already proven to be a model young person with a truly noteworthy character. Much of this was exemplified over the years through her hard work, diligence and determination through her efforts in supporting animal welfare.
Even more astounding was Brook’s journey to obtaining the scholarship. At only age eight, Brook expressed genuine interest in finding out about various engaging opportunities, particularly interactive camps, that would coincide with her vision and cause. Though she found several, many were costly and had minimum age requirements, including Auburn, whose minimum age was 11. Brook remained hopeful; she would not be discouraged. Though Brook knew that she had her parents’ complete, unwavering support, she was long-inspired by their words: “Always be willing to invest in yourself.”
Over time, she focused on achieving her goal. Even at her young age, she could bake mouth-watering, homemade cupcakes, so she decided to hold bake sales in the community to raise money. Whether outside of Tanger Outlets, Publix, her mom’s workplace or even her own neighborhood, Brook could sometimes be found selling the sweet treats. Brook set her sights on the Auburn University camp opportunity. The tenacious go-getter did earn a partial scholarship but also had her very own earnings to supplement some of the costs of the endeavor. How extraordinary!
All of the young attendees at the camp were given valuable information about both animal life and plant life at the week-long camp; many of the principles and lessons that were discussed are sure to last a lifetime. The kids also had a lot of fun in the process. Brook felt that the experience proved to be a tremendously memorable one. She, too, felt very privileged and grateful to be chosen to attend, and she certainly hopes to attend again in the future.
“It was very amazing. We learned a lot of things about animals and plants. I would love to go back,” Brook commented.
It is obvious how Brook feels about her cause; however, her genuine concern and tender compassion for ‘man’s best friend’ is absolutely remarkable. Brook is also insightful and knows that none of her efforts are in vain; she plans to do whatever she can to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of as many dogs and other animals as possible.
“I just want to contribute what I can. When I get older and I’m a veterinarian, I want to see that I’ve helped them, and it will be better for the community of veterinarians,” she stated.
That said, even in this case, ‘it takes a village’ to come together and make a real difference.
Going forward, Brook would like to continue to participate in service events that cater to helping neglected dogs and promoting awareness about the entire situation; she would like to host more of those beneficial events throughout the year.
“I would like to do more service projects during the school year; I want to do more for the animals,” she said.
Young Brook is pleased to give credit where it is due. She is happy to call her mom and dad her real mentors, as she is utterly appreciative for both of them. Brook is grateful that they have supported her dreams for as long as she can remember. She is thankful for all of the help and support that they have given her, consistently making her interests their own.
With a big smile, Brook stated, “My biggest role models are my mom and dad. They’ve helped me host events; they’ve contributed a lot. They’re the best parents that I could have,” she asserted.
In her spare time, Brook enjoys spending time with her family, playing with Polish and participating in all of the extra-curricular activities that she is a part of.
Brooklyn Howells shows everyone that a heart of compassion and kindness is priceless and truly goes a long way. The future is bright for this young role model, as she is determined to be the difference that is needed in this world.